The low-key county town of HEREFORD was long a border garrison town held against the Welsh, its military importance guaranteed by its strategic position beside the River Wye. Today, with the fortifications that once girdled the city all but vanished, it’s the cathedral – and its extraordinary medieval Mappa Mundi – that catches the attention, lying just to the north of the river and at the heart of the city centre, whose compact tangle of narrow streets and squares is clumsily boxed in by the ring road. Taken as a whole, Hereford makes for a pleasant overnight stay, especially as it possesses a particularly fine hotel.

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